How do Websites Make Money?
Websites can earn money in many ways, I explain 5 of my favorite methods in the video and article below, as well as how you can set your site up to make the most possible:
Any website that gets traffic can make money. Attention is money whether you leverage that attention from visitors into your own products and services or get paid by someone else to show your audience their products and services.
I’m going to dive into 6 ways a website can make money, and you can see if any make sense for your website and figure out what your favorites are. You can even monetize a site with more than one method at a time so dont feel stuck like you can only use one option at a time.
One way and one of the most common ways to monetize your website is using ads.
As long as your website is getting traffic, monetizing with ads is a very viable option
I personally use ads as the main and most effective way I monetize my websites and have found them to be great, hands-off ways of turning a site into a passive income machine
One of my favorite things to do when purchasing a website is to find one that doesn’t have enough ads or good ad placement or one that is using a lower paying ad network, and then to buy the site and change ad networks or add ads to see its revenue jump overnight.
I’ve done this with two sites I have purchased, and have been able to double the ad revenue simply by switching ad networks and adding video ad types both times.
One site doubled from $500 a month to $1000 a month and the other doubled from $370 a month to $600 and up to $800 a month, so switching ad networks can allow you to earn your money back if you bought the site twice as quickly, and allow you to make more money each month from your website.
If you currently have a site and are running ads, it is worth it to switch ad networks for 2 weeks to a month and try this with a few ad networks so you can see which one makes the most revenue for your site. Many people dont even think to try a new ad network but it is worth testing especially if your site gets a lot of traffic.
Once you have an ad network running, you can look into the stats they give you and see if it makes sense to switch a specific ad type or targeting method on or off based on the revenue per page view you’re getting.
If you’re wondering how Google Adsense works, Adsense gives you specific stats on the revenue per pageview for image vs text ads and other types of targeting.
I’ve seen large revenue jumps by paying attention to these stats and then turning image ads off and switching targeting types, so there is always testing you can do and you should be diving deep into the data to be increasing your ad revenue if you choose this monetization option.
- Affiliate income
Affiliate income means you promote other people and companys products on your own website via tracking links or discount codes and every time your link or discount code leads to a sale on the other persons site, you get a pre-determined amount of money from that person.
You can find affiliate products by reaching out to website owners and asking if they have an affiliate program and by signing up for affiliate programs on cj.com, amazons program, and clickbank.com and other affiliate sites.
Most companies offer affiliate programs and if they dont they are likely to say yes if you ask about it because it is a win-win for you and them because they get guaranteed profit for each sale without the potential to overspend on ads and you get a commission for each sale without having to have or deal with having your own products on your site. You can run ads and affiliate program at the same time on your site as well so you can double dip in that sense to make money from both at the same time.
When you are selling another’s products through affiliate however they hold all the power and if they pretend you didn’t make sales or tracking is set up wrong you may not get payouts you should get.
Also they can cut or take away your commission at any time like amazon has done year after year with their affiliate program, and it’s funny because people always act surprised when they cut it each time but its funny like, is this the first time? No? they keep doing this?
Then why are you surprised — other companies cut their program all the time too so being dependent on any affiliate solely can be risky so always add more monetization than just affiliate to diversify your site’s income.
Amazon’s program is nice though because they give you a percentage of all sales in the persons cart, not just the one the person clicked your site to buy and amazon has a high conversion rate both of which make it hard for some amazon affiliates to change programs even after each affiliate rate cut.
Affiliate monetization is nice bc it is hands off and you don’t have to worry about any selling regulations or rules and get paid but how you get such a Small percentage for driving all traffic, you can sell all types of affiliate programs, physical products, services, hosting affiliate income, credit card sign up affil, program sign ups, pretty much anything can be sold via an affiliate link.
If you think about it, if it is at all a possibility and youre having success with affiliate links, why not just start selling your own product or program in place of your affiliate one? Thats honestly going to 10X your profit percentage and give you control over your prices and rates, which is the perfect Segway into the next website monetization method, which is selling products. There are several types of products you can sell, one being physical
- Sell Physical Products
You can sell physical products directly on your website, which is something I have done using both Woocommerce and Shopify, and am doing more of right now with my Etsy shop t shirts, and two physical product niche sites right now. one I created from scratch and one I purchased that already had a traffic and sales base I am switching from affiliate to wholesale. Love the margins of selling physical products.
However selling physical products Is way more hands on than an ad or affil site. In many cases you need to buy inventory and there are more upfront costs and you take full responsibly of shipping, customer service, complying with ecommerce, tax and privacy laws, but there is Way more potential to make more money than an ad or affil site because traffic is so much more valuable and worth so much more when it can convert for such a high amount directly on your site.
- Sell Software or other cloud-based Saas product
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of physical products you can also sell a digital or software or cloud based product, one option is to:
In terms of selling software, if you don’t know how to build the software you want to sell but know it would fill a gap in the marketplace and that people would want to buy it you can always outsource its development by simply hiring someone from fiver or upwork to make it for you. Just be careful who you choose. I actually hired someone with no reviews and the lowest pricer and skill level off upwork to make an app for me and they scammed me out of $400.
They quoted the whole project for $800 and we even got on the phone but I had a weird feeling but still chose them to do it because they had such a cheap offer.
They had the first milestone for $400 which was just the app screen mockup creation so they created two images and then I had to approve it and pay them $400 then they ghosted never to be heard from again. I reported them to upwork but upwork said I had released the payment milestone so nothing could be done. I even did a chargeback on my cc for goods not received but the kicker is upwork fought it because I had released the milestone even though I hadn’t received the promised work so I ended up getting my chargeback denied and had to eat the $400 loss and luckily upwork gave me back the other $400 that was in the upwork escrow. A year later I decided I still wanted to make the app so
I went on upwork and filtered for the highest skill level and price and chose someone with hundreds of 5 star reviews. His quote was only $1300 because he was more skilled and could do it more quickly. He did an amazing job and it was amazing to work with him , he also had a 24 hour response rule that we both had to follow and it worked out so well.
I learned from this experience that if you ever hire someone from upwork choose someone with hundreds of detailed 5 star reviews and choose someone at the highest price range and skill level because they will do the best job and it wont necessarily cost much more because someone more skilled will take less time to do something than someone cheaper and less skilled so it might end up costing the same amount and be better quality.
You can also- sell digital products – I have sold courses. I made a few hundred but never took off or focused on it.
- Sell a service
Another option is to- sell a service – I’ve done this with selling marketing freelance services, can be high revenue value but it is so linked to the time you spend as opposed to results in most cases so for me it is too capped and why work on other people’s sites for a fixed amount when you can work on your own for way more exponential growth, passive growth and a huge return.
If you even remotely know what you’re doing there is absolutely no reason to ever freelance for others or work for others in marketing when you could scale your own business to the moon and back. Simply doesn’t make sense unless you have no idea how to actually grow something, then makes a lot of sense to get hired by other people so you can have some form of income.
- Sell your entire website
When you sell your entire site the monthly income stops when you do this unless you do some sort of partial ownership deal or payment plan deal, but you can get a larger chunk of cash and free up your attention and time for another project.
There are variations of what I mentioned above and tons of ways you can monetize your site, feel free to comment any I missed below.
Comment your favorite way to monetize your site below so we can see what the most common method is and I’ll reply to your comment!